Saturday, February 13, 2010
Why I love Valentine's Day
Valentine's day is my favorite holiday. Some people like Christmas best, but I always feel really stressed out about all the gift buying and traveling, cooking, baking, and finding the perfect tacky yet somehow still figure flattering sweater to wear to the church party... But I digress. I love Valentine's Day. I love all the ridiculous pink and purple and red. I love the candy and flowers. I love that there are hearts everywhere. I love it all.
Here's the problem: Almost everyone I know hates Valentine's Day. I, of course, completely understand where the cynical "I refuse to wear anything but black on Single's Awareness Day" crowd is coming from. Many of my friends feel so alone because they aren't in a romantic relationship. Admittedly, this time can make it seems like everyone in the whole wide world is happy and in love except you.
Others I know take issue with the day for different reasons. They say that couples have unrealistic expectations of each other. They say that people put some much pressure on the day that everyone is just stressed out from trying to force a romantic moment. I understand this point of view too. However, as I have said before, real love is about sacrifice. And in our relationships when we feel ourselves keeping score, wanting recognition, or placing our needs above the needs of other we need to go back to reciting "Love is patient, love is kind..."
When I think about Valentine's Day I think back to elementary school. Valentine's Day was the best day of the year. Everyone got to decorate their "mail box" (usually a white paper sack) to receive notes from their friends. People walked a little taller and were just a little friendlier. People said please and thank you when they were supposed to. You made cards for your mom and dad and teachers. Time seemed to stop for the afternoon so everyone could simply be nice to each other.
Now I'm no fool. Since I'm no longer in 3rd grade, Valentine's Day carries this pressure with it to have a boy knocking on my door with an over-sized stuffed animal and flowers that he probably paid way too much for. The truth is, I have never had a date on February 14th, and yet I still love the day. Why?
- For some reason, we have trouble telling the people that we care about the truth about how much we really do care about them on a regular basis. Valentine's is a day where everyone can tell the people they love why they love them. In my own experience, we simply don't do this enough (or when you do the other person thinks you are a little off your rocker...). For example, I love my roommate Robyn. I tell her so on a pretty regular basis. However, on Valentine's Day I take the time to tell her that I love her because she is such a loyal friend, and because she is always encouraging others, and because she is incredibly honest, and because she talks like a Yiddish grandmother... I think you get the point. I find myself thankful for my friends and family who help to make my life so rich.
- Whenever I think about love, I can't help but think about the amazing love that God has for all of us. The love that always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always endures whatever comes. The love that sacrifices. The love that gives life to those who deserve death. The love too high and wide and long and deep to be grasped. The love that changes everything.
Somehow Satan has gotten so many of us to focus the one thing we don't have (a boy/girl friend) and forget about all the love we do have. So tomorrow think outside the Valentine's box and find some way to share God's amazing love with your elderly neighbor,the postman that goes out of his way to bring you your mail, your favorite teacher, your roommates who never complain about how long you take in the shower, or anyone who made a difference in your life with their affection and support.
Happy Valentine's Day!
"Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God." Eph 5:1-2